The Hobey Baker Memorial Award Committee announced Thursday the three Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalists for the 2021 award, honoring college hockey’s top player.
Alphabetically, they are Wisconsin sophomore forward Cole Caufield, Minnesota State junior goaltender Dryden McKay and North Dakota sophomore forward Shane Pinto.
The three finalists were selected from the initial list of 10 candidates by the 30-member selection committee and an additional round of online fan balloting to determine this year’s Hobey Baker Award winner.
Criteria for the award includes displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.
Known as a prolific scorer, Caufield soared to the top of the national scoring charts, leading the nation in total points while averaging almost a goal per game. He became the first player in the eight-year history of the Big Ten conference to win back-to-back scoring titles.
Additionally, the league rewarded him as Player of the Year and First Team all-conference. Pouring in 30 goals in 31 games, Caufield finished the season with a flurry, recording 15 multiple point games in his final 18 contests. His shoot-first mentally saw him unload 165 shots on goal, averaging 5.3 shots per game – both numbers leading the nation. He also won a gold medal for Team USA at the 2021 World Junior Championship.
· Finished his season with 30 goals, 22 assists for 52 points in 31 games – averaged 1.68 points per game to lead the nation
· Led the nation with 24 power play points and 11 power play goals
· Montreal draft (1st round – 15th overall) – signed a pro contract following this season
For two straight years, McKay is a Hobey Baker and Mike Richter Award top ten finalist, making the final three for each this past season.
For the second straight campaign, he has posted a national best 10 shutouts, and his three-year body of work totals 24 shutouts – second all-time in NCAA history (Hobey 2001 winner Ryan Miller holds the record with 26). McKay backstopped the Mavericks to a second straight WCHA regular season title and helped guide them to their first ever appearance at the NCAA Frozen Four. The WCHA rewarded him as Player of the Year, Goalie of the Year and First Team all-conference.
· His current record is: 21-3-0 (.875 win percentage best in nation) – goals against average 1.39 (2nd best in nation) – save percentage .931 (tied-6th in nation)
· In 25 games started, allowed two or less goals in 19 games – pro hockey free agent
· Finance major with 3.83 GPA – First Team All-American last season
A coaches’ dream – a responsible, competitive 200-foot player – Pinto helped guide the Fighting Hawks to NCHC regular-season and playoff titles.
While winning the conference regular season scoring title, Pinto was honored with numerous league awards: Player of the Year, Forward of the Year, Defensive Forward of the Year and First Team all-conference. Dangerous in the faceoff circle, he won 61.9% of faceoffs, fifth best in the nation. His expertise on the power play saw him ranked top five nationally in both power play points and goals (7-7 for 14 points). Pinto finished the season tied for ninth in the nation in scoring and tied for seventh in goals.
· Finished his season with 15 goals, 17 assists for 32 points – had 12 multiple point games
· Kinesiology major with 3.59 GPA – Ottawa draft (2nd round)
· Last season: NCHC Rookie of Year; led Team USA in scoring at World Junior Championship
The Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced on Friday, April 9 during a live broadcast on NHL Network and streamed at hobeybaker.com beginning at 6 p.m. EDT. Additional national awards will also be announced during the show.